The Upside of Feeling Down: Dealing with Disappointment in Roller Derby

In roller derby, many situations can yield disappointment.  A few (of many) examples include:

-You don’t pass your minimum skills requirements the first time
-You don’t get drafted to a team
-You don’t get rostered for a team
-You get rostered, but then you don’t play during the bout
-You go out for 1-2 jams and play horribly, so you don’t play again
-You foul out of a bout and have to watch from the sidelines

And this list can go on and on…

So what causes this feeling of disappointment?

psychologyUnfortunately, the more disappointment someone feels, the more they come to expect that the future will yield more disappointments.  However, despite all of the disappointments you face in roller derby, you’re still expected to show up for practice and skate hard. At practice, you are also constantly reminded of your disappointment by seeing other skaters who have achieved what you wanted to achieve.   So how do you keep skating, despite encountering all of these disappointments?

It is imperative to first realize that disappointment is not all bad.  Feeling disappointed helps you revise your views of the world and others.  Why are you so disappointed?  What were you hoping to achieve that you didn’t?  Answering these questions help you realize what is important to you, and help you learn a little bit more about yourself.

Also, the only way to get better is by failing.  Sometimes this failure can come as a disappointment, but it is a sign that you’re trying to grow and improve.  So just as all derby players should embrace their mistakes as a sign of learning, we should embrace our disappointments as a desire to want to learn more.

However, despite the positive aspects of disappointment, you still might harbor feelings of anger, sadness, and resentment.

To help combat these feelings, there are several ways you can deal with disappointment:

(1) Try to respond to the disappointment without emotion.  Of course, everyone feels the emotional reactions to disappointment, but acknowledge those feelings and then try to move on.  If you need to, use disappointment as a building block for mental toughness.  Don’t just get angry and quit – build resolve and strive to work harder.

(2) Since feelings of disappointment can lead you to discover new future goals, write down these goals and the steps to reach them.  Make sure your goals are realistic and based on your own performance, not the performance of others.  Reflect on these goals often, so you don’t lose sight of what you are working towards.

(3) Consult with teammates and coaches to help overcome disappointment. It is OK to feel disappointment – this is what makes you continue to get better.  However, you don’t want to hold onto any resentment towards your coaches or your teammates.  Sharing your feelings of disappointment with others provides insight to how you’re feeling and can help identify specific areas where you can improve your play.

(4) Try to dwell on the positives, not the negatives.  Even though you might not have achieved what you wanted, what DID you achieve?  Have you improved your basic skills?  Did you master a certain strategy?  How has your relationship with roller derby improved?  Did you bond with a teammate over the experience?

Disappointment in roller derby is tough.  We’ve all felt it at one point. But feeling that disappointment is part of being out on the track! It is an important learning experience, helping you not only deal with emotionally challenging experiences, but also providing feedback about how you can improve your play.  However, our shared experiences should be something that makes us feel more camaraderie towards each other, not something that makes us feel more alone.  If you’re a skater who knows a teammate is going through a tough time, reach out to them as well!  Even a few words of empathy or support can be motivation to keep trying.

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4 Responses to The Upside of Feeling Down: Dealing with Disappointment in Roller Derby

  1. Pingback: Train Your Brain: Stuff to Read This Week {November 6, 2016} – Iron Octopus Fitness

  2. Wow, great article!)
    Could you please give me your permission to translate it in russian? I really want to share it with my teammates)


  3. Pingback: November's Cool Things: Poorly Cats, Off-Season & Unofficial Mental Toughness Month - Treble Maker 909

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